Butterfield Canyon will be closed for at least a week after Friday’s flash flooding, which also caused sedimentation ponds at Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine to overflow into Butterfield Creek.
Salt Lake County Health Department officials were called to the scene immediately after the spill, spawned by 3.6 inches of rain in two hours Friday afternoon, said Health Department spokeswoman Pam Davenport.
She said there was "no immediate risk to people or animals" because Butterfield Creek is used only for irrigation, but that testing of the collected water samples will show whether contaminants consistent with mining are present and if they are in quantities that meet or exceed permitted levels.
Results of the tests, being analyzed by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, are expected next week, Davenport added.
County Mayor Ben McAdams noted earlier in the day that debris piled deep on the canyon road after the deluge will take a week to clean off. The canyon in the Oquirrh Mountains, west of Herriman, is a popular recreation site.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.